The following post is a letter from Bill Morgenstern, CEO of Opportunity International, to Opportunity’s staff and supporters about the recent demonstrations in Malawi.
While we are still gathering information on the riots in Malawi, we wanted to provide you a brief update on the situation. There are reports that during the anti-government protests yesterday nearly 20 people were killed, many more injured and dozens of businesses ransacked. We are saddened to report that one of our banking kiosks was lost along with a number of our client’s businesses. We are grateful, however, that all of our staff appear to be safe as we shut down the majority of our operations prior to the scheduled protests.
There has been growing discontent in Malawi over significant fuel and foreign exchange shortages that have severely weakened the economy. In addition, opposition leaders have accused the government of mishandling relations with the international community and curtailing civil liberties. Violence broke out Wednesday when security forces attempted to stop a nationwide anti-government protest.
Our operations in Malawi will remain closed until we can ensure the safety of our staff and clients. We are in daily communication with our staff as they attempt to sort through the situation and gather information on our branches and clients throughout the country. We’ll provide you another update as soon as possible.
Please join our prayer for the people of Malawi. The “Warm Heart of Africa” has always been a place of peace, and we pray that grace and peace would quickly return.